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Los Angeles

Film Board Urged to Review Its Spending

September 14, 2002|NICHOLAS RICCARDI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Los Angeles County officials Friday urged the quasi-public agency that provides local film permits to convene an emergency meeting of its executive board in light of a district attorney's investigation of its possible misuse of public funds.

The report by County Counsel Lloyd W. Pellman and Chief Administrative Officer David Janssen recommends that the Entertainment Industry Development Corp.'s executive committee review the agency's spending practices. It also recommended a review of the performance of agency President Cody Cluff, whose $300,000 expense account was cited in court papers by prosecutors after they carried out a search warrant at his home last week.

The agency was formed by the county and the Los Angeles City Council in 1995 to streamline the film permitting process and to help keep movie production in the region. Prosecutors argue it is a public agency that appears to have recklessly spent its funds and contributed money to elected politicians on its board. Agency officials contend it is private and entitled to spend the money received from film permits as it sees fit.

In a statement released Friday, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who sits on the board along with three other county supervisors and the entire City Council, said the matter could not wait until the scheduled board meeting in late October.

"These are extremely serious issues affecting the conduct of government business and the public's perception thereof," he said.

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